Sphero is a mechanized sphere that can be controlled like a remote controlled car, airplane, boat, or drone. It can also be programmed to perform actions. This is what makes Sphero a robot. It can be programmed and it can react to the environment. Sphero has sensors that provide information about its orientation in the environment.
Sphero is programmed with a block coding language. Block-based coding is a way to teach coding skills without the need to know the text-based equivalent. You begin with block-based coding and go on to learn the actual text behind the blocks of code.
The coding blocks are designed to interact with Sphero. The code blocks go beyond basic actions and provide the tools to develop elaborate programs for Sphero. These elaborate programs use the same programming principals as programs like C and Java. The programming language used to program Sphero is called OVAL. It is based on the C programming language. This programming language is used by my developers.
Coding Sphero requires the installation of the Lightning Lab application. The application is available from the App Store for iOS devices like iPad and iPhone. It’s also available for Android devices from the Google Play store. The Lightning Lab application uses block-based coding to develop programs which are sent to Sphero through Bluetooth. The bloc-based coding environment makes it easy for anyone to learn code. This coding environment helps develop programs without knowing the exact text used in code blocks.
Sphero can be programmed to travel, change colors, and play sounds. Within these actions, we can learn about basic science concepts like velocity, acceleration, force, motion, and mass. Sphero can be used to teach math concepts like angle, radius, diameter, volume, and circumference.
The Sphero Coding for STEM book provides several coding examples and lesson ideas for using Sphero for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.